How to measure the size of seed beads per inch

Seed bead supply are a popular item when it comes to jewelry making. It is also used in bead embroidery and sometimes used in dress making. Crafters and jewelry makers will always have seed beads in their craft boxes. A versatile material, you can use it on almost all kinds of crafts.


bead supply
When it comes to making beaded jewelries it is important to learn how to determine the right size of seed beads you’ll be using, especially if you’re making intricate beadwork and working with different types of beading techniques. The seed beads must fit into the beadwork to have the result you want to achieve on your piece.


Seed beads are measured in “aught.” They are interpreted as 110 but usually written as 11/0. The largest is 1/0 and smallest is 24/0 which is about the size of a grain of sand. Since brand per brand the sizes of the seed beads manufactured may differ per inch sizing can be considered as an approximate measurement for all size of seed beads .

According to popular guidelines, to measure the size of seed beads per inch using measuring tools is to string several on a thread up to an inch and then count. For 11/0 you’ll have around 11 to 12 seed beads. For 15/0 you’ll have 15 to 16 seed beads. Now, I’ve tried this method many times following the guidelines from different sources and I only get confuse. I stringed some 11/0 (size according to the package) up to an inch and I’ll have up to 19+ seed beads. Way over the approximate number of seed beads according to guidelines. I tried the method on 15/0 and 8/0 and I still get too many to reach the approximate number of beads again, according to guidelines. This will be a problem if you buy seed beads without the size indicated on its package and this is what I always experience. I know the guidelines given are all correct in their own terminologies, but you still have to compute and convert aught to diameter and/or millimeter. Very confusing for me and I know to others too.

Upon searching, reading more and learning it myself since each seed bead has an equivalent size in millimeter you need to measure them via their millimeter to get a fair approximation of the bead size per inch.


To test the method try picking up some 11/0 and line them up with their holes facing up like so. Line up 11 seed beads up to an inch and you’ll have 11 to 12 seed beads per inch.
11/0 seed beads

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Try it another size of seed beads, say a 15/0. Line up several to an inch and you’ll have 15 to 16 seed beads.
 15/0 seed beads
bead supply
Try it again with 8/0 seed beads and you’ll have approximately 8 to 9 seed beads.
8/0 seed beads
bead supply
Much, much easier to understand, isn’t it than stringing and learning the math. 🙂
Try the method on other sizes of beads and you’ll get a fair approximation of the number of beads per inch to determine the size of a seed bead.
Hope my effort on trying to learn how to measure the size of seed beads per inch helped you as it is helpful for me! Happy beading!
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Jane Chew

Jane is the Chief Editor of Handmade Jewelry Club. She also founded DIY Jewelry Making Magazine @ .For More Info, Visit my Google + Profile

    One Comment On “How to measure the size of seed beads per inch”

    1. This is what I’ve been looking for. I’.ve got everything a person could want to do beading from every size bead, pearls string wire, books, looms, findings. But I know nothing really about doing the actual beading so I need to learn from the very beginning, and not from a book.


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